“Let’s talk soon. We need to catch up.” “Absolutely!”

Does that sound familiar? It’s a familiar text message for me. I jump from this one person to thinking of ALL the other people I love and want to catch up with ALL of them, and I get overwhelmed. Then I do not pick up the phone at all. Time passes. I justify this to myself, defend myself in my own mind as if I am on trial, and nothing changes. I think I will find time the next day, the next week, or over the summer. The truth is though that more time very rarely presents itself. Days wash into days and years go by.

I think this issue is about being busy, but maybe there is also something else…the fear of being vulnerable and the weight of vulnerability. If I call these people that I love and we catch up, that will involve them most certainly asking about me and having to delve into my life and maybe it is easier to avoid that. Life is actually a struggle and I would not want to burden them.

There are so many distractions out there and so much to do. It is easier than ever to AVOID this type of honesty and self-reflection. This type of conversation would lead to them trying to help me and then I would have a responsibility to try to work on my issues and that sounds altogether daunting. It is so much less time consuming to stay distracted. Yet if I am not satisfied, shouldn’t I want to change? Ah, therein lies the rub…stepping out of our comfort zone. Taking risk. It’s like buying a new pair of shoes. Who knows if they will ever be as comfortable as the old ones?!

What happens if we do not pick up the phone, meet up with that friend for coffee, or have that game night we used to with our friends because we’re “busy?” What happens is we feel incredibly lonely. We feel like our social life has moved out and loneliness has moved in and set up shop. We feel disconnected from those we love and instead tethered to our calendars, to-do lists, digital lives and devices. We feel the weight of our self-inflicted monotony. We feel stuck. We feel bored. What happens when we’re bored? We tend toward unhealthy habits or desires. The muck grows from there.

What is the alternative? Well, here is an example. I belong to a special group of amazing women called Special Operations Survivors. We get together once per year for a couple days. We are all surviving spouses of fallen Special Operators. What happens at that event every year is nothing short of magical and while it is different for all of us, it is a breath of fresh air. What really happens there though that spawns that magic? Conversations. Real conversations. Honest conversations. Hard conversations. Painful conversations. Uninterrupted conversations. No small talk. No business. No distractions. In those couple days, hope is restored, strength is imbibed, love is grown and sewn. Sewn from the ashes. We need this. We all need this.

Wishing us all more conversations,

Nikola Rosa